Author Topic: team mom going overboard in ideas that cost money  (Read 1148 times)


  • Pencil Stache
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team mom going overboard in ideas that cost money
« on: December 14, 2018, 09:55:23 AM »
My daughter is on a select sports team.  It's $$$$ to participate, but we agreed because she is absolutely passionate about the sport and has proven willing to do anything it takes to get to participate.  I've come to terms with spending all that money, not as an investment in her college future, but because she LOVES it.

My problem now is that one of the other parents (who is also a co-worker of mine) has appointed herself team mom and is coming up with a constant string of ideas that require us to pay money.  Embroidering the girls' names on the back of their warm-up jackets, matching water bottles with the team name and their names printed on them, etc. I gritted my teeth and shelled out for this stuff so my kid wouldn't be the only one on the team to be left out. 

Yesterday, the other mom decided that we will have team lunches on tournament days where she will buy all the food and we just pay her back (with no estimate whatsoever on how much she plans to spend each week).  This morning, it's a secret santa gift exchange for the girls before practice next Friday (when the heck am I supposed to find time to do MORE Christmas shopping?).  I'm starting to dread seeing this mom's number pop up on my phone.

Five or six of the 10 girls on the team have played together before and their moms are close friends (including this one).  None of them seem to be the least bit Mustachian.  Whenever anything is suggested, the other moms in the clique immediately agree it is an awesome idea and we HAVE to do it.

I've tried to speak up about not doing so many extras that cost money, and they just offer to pay for my daughter.  That makes me feel guilty, because I know my income is similar to all of theirs - and they know it, too, because co-worker.

There is a possibility my kid could play on this team with these girls for the next 5 years!

I'm not sure whether I need to suck it up and just pay or continue to be the whiny mom.  I don't know if there are enough of us outside the clique to stage a coup.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: team mom going overboard in ideas that cost money
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2018, 10:43:08 AM »
I think you probably have already come up with alternative lower cost options and they just reject them? Maybe you can sell things to neighbors and fundraise like other groups. It also teaches the kiddos that thins  are earned.

Alternatives you can budget this as something for the family and see if you can trim your budget elsewhere. Might not be the same amount but similar.

Good luck!


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: team mom going overboard in ideas that cost money
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2018, 10:47:05 AM »
I vote suck it up.  Sometimes you have to go along to get along.  You've already voiced your dissent, but these ladies don't care.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: team mom going overboard in ideas that cost money
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2018, 12:07:32 PM »
Depends on how much you like the other aspects of the travel team. We've been involved in competitive swimming and AAU basketball and there's a ton of turnover in those worlds, kids constantly switching teams. If you find a situation you like in terms of the coaches and the effective organization of the club, that probably is going to outweigh Psycho Team Mom and her drama. If you're ambivalent about the team, this should nudge you to another club. It doesn't matter where you live, there are other clubs.

Sounds like a big part of this for your daughter is having fun and being with friends. Nothing wrong with that. But I'd suggest that travel club sports are waaaaaay too much work for kids and parents if you're not at least looking to play at the highest possible level at the high school level, whether that's school or club. Otherwise I'd dial it back to playing only high school and rec league. 

Also worth noting that I have boys and they're generally easier with a lot of this stuff. They don't care as much - at least mine don't -- about all of the swag and spending time with their friends. They could make new friends on a new team. It's about the sport. Otherwise they'd do rec league basketball and do triathlons.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: team mom going overboard in ideas that cost money
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2018, 12:12:51 PM »
What does your daughter say about all the extras? I would sit her down and calmly and kindly explain to her that there have been a lot of extra things to do with the sports team that have been costing a lot of money but aren't to do with playing the sport. For example, the water bottles and the Secret Santa. Ask her what she thinks about them. Then listen.

Maybe she really agonisingly cares about fitting in with all these other girls. Maybe there are some of them that are important to her and some that aren't. Maybe she already feels guilty about asking you to spend all this extra money knowing how expensive it is already.

Either way, the conclusion I would want to come to with her is a budget per season for the sport as a whole which you both decide on together and spend together. So you have a fixed cost for this sport rather than endlessly escalating "one-off" costs and she can have the extras which she truly loves and values. She could also earn money if she wants to boost this budget.

she is absolutely passionate about the sport and has proven willing to do anything it takes to get to participate

This to me says that it ought to be possible to explain to her that you cannot afford all of the extras that keep cropping up and that she will be willing to make some sacrificed to keep playing the sport.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: team mom going overboard in ideas that cost money
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2018, 09:35:50 PM »
I agree with @shelivesthedream; start by talking with your daughter.

I was an equestrian as a kid/teenager and lots of my horse friends had lots more money than I (my family...) did to spend on the sport.  I was clear that I was doing it because I loved it and happy to do it anyway that was possible (I did also enjoy spending time with my friends and the overall ethic -- for that group, maybe not your daughter's -- was inclusive regardless of $$$ resources). 

If your daughter's game (agrees with you) I might just try telling the group that spending the extra $$$ isn't consistent with your family values/goals.  If she feels uncomfortable bucking the trend, I might be willing to play along (spend the $$$). 


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Re: team mom going overboard in ideas that cost money
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2018, 07:06:11 AM »
I coached a swim team and similar dynamics came up almost every year - there were parents who wanted matching warmups and meals out, etc. and others who didn't want to pay more than the (already considerable) monthly dues.

In addition to having a conversation about this with your daughter (great suggestion shelivesthedream) - I would bring this up with whomever is running this organization, whether that is the coach or a league coordinator or someone else. In my case the team rep had to set clear rules on what families could and could not be asked to pay for.  Thankfully I had a really good team rep who was able to tactfully frame this as necessary so families could budget appropriately.  Ultimately any 'team purchases' could only be made with his approval, and I know that he would privately talk with those budget conscious families each time something came up to see if it was something they would be ok with.

May or may not work in your team dynamic, but 'team expenses' shouldn't be dictated by one (or a group) of mothers - it should come from the team.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: team mom going overboard in ideas that cost money
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2018, 11:39:04 AM »
My kids play a sport (soccer) that has players with a really wide income disparity, and this has come up several times (and, in fact, is the reason why I am often "team mom"). My position is "this is a team sport, and whatever we do will include every member of the team" which often means that travel/tournament fees for some players is subsidized by other families. Or we do fundraising so everyone can be part of ... whatever the thing is. And I talk about this explicitly, both with my kids and with other families when I'm asked.

Since you're pushing against someone who has already volunteered for the job, I'd suggest taking nereo's advice and reaching out to the organization. It makes no sense for them to be driving families away because some folks want to spend even more on quasi-team activities, so see if you can get some support from the club! Also, you can offer to take over some things: pizza for a team can be pretty inexpensive, and it's still a "team dinner." There are probably ways to sidestep some of the issues by just finding less expensive ways to fulfill the "team activity" idea.

If at all possible, you might consider having the team do a couple of volunteer activities: they can serve dinner at a shelter, or make sandwiches and hand them out to people on corners, or help move pallets around a food pantry, or tutor smaller students (or teach lessons in whatever-your-sport-is).

 I was delighted when my older son, who was then a captain of the high school team, arranged that the warmups for some of the players were subsidized by other players, so everyone got matching jackets. I was even more delighted that the coach and I were on the same page, so we did some additional fundraising so that all the players had access to the same opportunities and stuff. (And that the "stuff" was pretty minimal, honestly -- because it's not essential to doing the sport!)